I am concerned about the length of the Moses reading - given that it's a baptism service: so whilst taking the message of the story, I am thinking of omitting it from the service itself. So here is the first draft of the sermon on Romans & Matthew alone.
I am taking Saturday as my day off this week (entirely! - a resolution I made whilst on holiday: be sterner with myself about getting service prep done & not letting it spread over into Saturday) and have a funeral on Friday, as well as the all age service still to prepare - so this first draft may be 'it'!
Part of the body
The reading we had from the Gospel all about Peter might make us think that to be a really good Christian we need to be some kind of superhero.
But let’s look more carefully at what Jesus says – not ‘you are Peter & I want all my followers to be like you’. (After all this is the same Peter who will betray Jesus just before the crucifixion – Peter certainly isn’t perfect!). But, actually, Jesus says ’You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church’.
Jesus’ followers will be built together, into a team. Like Peter they will have to learn to answer the question ‘who is Jesus?’, to understand what it means to say that Jesus is the Son of God, and then they will need to work together to tell the world about God’s love which we see in Jesus.
This working together is what it means to be what St Paul calls the body of Christ. Each of us working together to do God’s work in the world, each of us using the different gifts and abilities to work together. We can’t all be stars of the show or heroes of the faith – but we are all vital.
I confess that I’m a big fan of the Olympics – and I’ve been really enjoying the heroes who have emerged – especially the British ones:
Rebecca Adlington in the swimming,
Chris Hoy in the cycling
Christine Ohurougu in the running.
But I’m even more impressed by the teams taking part: especially where sometimes the best individuals don’t necessarily make the best team.
Even at the Olympic level brilliant individual runners can make a complete Horlicks of a relay race – if they don’t work together effectively.
And so, through baptism, we welcome Connie into the body of Christ and onto the team today.
We thank God for all that she is and all she will become.
We pray that the power of God, God’s Holy Spirit, will touch her and bless her and bring her close to the love of God.
She may or may not turn out to be a hero of the faith – but she will always be loved and special in the eyes of God.
And the gift of love offered to Connie is also offered to each one of us here. All are welcome to eat and drink at the table of Christ – to share in communion as we remember all that Jesus did for us by his life and his death.
This food and this drink is all we need to share so that we can be part of the body of Christ, members of the team whose task it is to spread the Good News of God’s love for all people.
At this table God accepts us in Christ’s offering, feeds us in Christ’s love, and makes us one in Christ’s body.
And to God in Christ be all glory in the church and in the world forever, Amen.